January 15, 2008

WHAT A WEEK: THE CITY’S WEEKLY ZEITGEIST RADAR

-10An anti-tax Democratic governor calls for sweeping education cuts, while a Republican Senate leader calls education our “best economic development tool.” Bizarro World? Well, yes. But also Frankfort. Gov. Beshear asked both higher education and K-12 to prepare for worst-case cutbacks, while Sen. David Williams denounced the idea of cutting universities’ budgets. Meanwhile, House Speaker Jody Richards came out in favor of a cigarette tax to shore up the state’s piggybank, while pretty much everybody else speculated on where the casinos will go. What is “worst case?” For JCPS, about $7 million. For U of L, about $25 million, or roughly 641,000 basketballs. +8Metro rode Joe Camel back out to the barn: The smoking ban, minus the Churchill exemption, is back on. -18You’d think a citywide smoking ban and talk of a big increase in the cigarette tax would satisfy those killjoys at the American Lung Association. And you would be wrong. Kentucky earned another “F” on the lung lovers’ latest report card. The commonwealth leads the nation in smoking, and our 30-cents-per-pack tax is among the nation’s lowest. Nearly a quarter of our high school kids smoke, and 4,500 Kentuckians die from smoking-related cancer and heart disease each year, at a staggering cost of $3 billion, or roughly 77 million basketballs. +7In a bill aimed at clergy, youth leaders, camp directors and those sexy female teachers who run off to Caribbean countries with middle-school football quarterbacks, state Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville proposes to make sexual abuse of minors and those who fail to report it to authorities a felony, which could result in up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000, or 256 basketballs. World-classness: -13